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(CONNECT THE DOTS (PAINT BY NUMBERS]
SCRIPTURE - Luke 8:10 FEBRUARY, 2004
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables;
that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
SUBJECT - PAINT BY THE NUMBERS (CONNECT THE DOTS)
Over 50 years ago, when I was about 6 years old, I can remember my mother, bringing home a new, exciting toy, if you can call it that. Actually, it was more like a puzzle. It was a piece of paper, with a lot of funny designs on it, and the designs, each had a number. The idea was to take that paper, and use the paints that came with it, which had numbers on them as well, and paint each design, with its corresponding paint color.
Well, after I did that, to my suprise, a picture emerged. This was amazing to me, because I surely didn't see any type of picture on the paper before I painted it.
About the same time, she, my mom, bought me another weird paper, that, unlike the other paper, had nothing on it but a lot of numbers, with dots by them. All I had to do, was take a pencil or some other writing instrument, and draw a line from one dot to another, in the natural order of numbers, and 'voile', out came another picture, a picture that could be readily identified.
Of course, the packages that these came in, had what the finished picture was supposed to look like, so I could see, when I finished, how close I came to getting it right.
Now, at any time, I could have connected the dots, any way I wanted to, or painted the designs with any colors I wanted to. The only problem is, if I did it my way, then I would miss what the image on the paper really was.
Now I said all of that, to say this. In order to get the 'right' image, I had to follow the rules that governed that particular puzzle. That is the way the manufactures designed it, and that is the only way it would work.
Well, I said all of that, to say this.
In like manner, when it comes to getting the correct image of God, we have to follow certain principles, in a certain order, in order to get what it is that God wants us to see, and understand.
You see, today, just like back in the times of the old and new testaments, people had all different sorts of ideas about God. And for good reason. God only revealed Himself to a selected few individuals after Adam and Eve sinned against Him and were kicked out of the garden of Eden. With the close fellowship that they had, broken, man began to try to get back to Him, through all sorts of means.
They prayed to the sun, the moon, the stars. They made all sorts of
idols. They sacrificed any, and everything to these man-made gods. They even sacrificed themselves, and their children to them. They began to believe that certain things were pleasing to these gods, and others weren't. Mind you, all of these actions, were vain attempts to get in touch with God.
Now, for God, to have created us, to worship Him, and then, not make some sort of attempt to reveal to us, what it is He wanted us to do, would be unfair. Especially if He is particular about what He wants from us. If He just accepted any old thing we presented to Him, then there would be no need for the bible, and the preaching of the gospel.
The bible, and the preaching of the gospel, are the revelation of who God is, and who we are, and what He wants us to be.
But, just because you have a bible, and read it. And just because you go to church and hear a preacher, is not necessarily pleasing to God. Sure it is good if you are doing these things, but, if you aren't getting the right image of God, from your reading, or the preaching, then, it is all in vain.
There are a bunch of well meaning folk, that read their bibles religiously, and attend church, every time the doors open up, yet, they don't know God, at all. Why?? It is because they don't have the correct image of the One, True God. Oh sure, they have an image of Him, but it is not the right image of Him.
Example, just recently, a certain church denomination, is on the verge of splitting up, over the ordination of a man, that is openly gay. That means, he is still a practicing homosexual, and the church hierarchy, saw fit to promote him to the rank of Bishop.
This action alone, reveals that these people have no idea of who God really is. Their image of Him is tainted, to say the least, and an abomination, at the worst.
You see, any one that knows the True God, knows that He hates the sin of homosexuality, it is an abomination to Him. There is no way, that He will accept any one that is continuing in their sin, in an unrepentant state, in to Heaven. Therefore, this man, shouldn't even be in any office in the church, let alone, an office of Bishop.
Read what the qualifications of a bishop should be. [1Tim 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 1Tim 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 1Tim 3:3 Not
given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 1Tim 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 1Tim 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?]
Notice, the scriptures say amongst other things, that a bishop MUST BE, the husband of one wife. Notice the term, must be. That means there is no other thing that is acceptable. A gay man, has no wife, because a homosexual, has no dealings with women. The scriptures go on to say that this is necessary, because if a man can't rule his own house, how can he rule, or take care of God's church??
The point I want you to see from this passage of scripture is, a bishop, needs to have experience, good experience, in dealing with family relationships in order to run a church, whose operations, deals with all of the relationships of all the families that attend. How can a person, who has no such experience, direct others in how to deal with marital, and child problems, when they themselves, have no such experience?? Yet, there are churches that feel this is not a problem. They, have the wrong image of God, and are going nowhere.
That is only one of thousands of scenarios that go on everyday with people that don't follow the directions that God has given us to follow. It is impossible for anyone to follow the paths that they think they should follow, and come up with the correct image of God. This is why the world is so messed up, everybody doing their own thing, connecting dots that should not be connected and painting the wrong colors in the wrong designs, and coming out with a distorted picture.
In preaching the gospel, and studying the bible, most people do so, with a pre conceived notion of what God is like. That notion is, God is Love, and He loves everyone, and therefore, no matter what anyone does, or thinks, they will all go the Heaven when they die.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Presenting God, like He is all Love, and Mercy, and Grace, is like trying to pass off a one sided coin. It just ain't happening.
Now while God is all of the above, that is only half of what He is. Look at these scriptures. [Deu 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.]
Does this sound like a God that is just, all Love, and Merciful??
So, just how does one go about finding the correct image of God??
First, you must believe that there is a God. The bible says, [Heb 11:6 But WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that HE IS A REWARDER OF THEM THAT DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM.]
It is not enough to just believe that there is a God [Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Notice the word, "faith." That is the first and primary step needed to
get God to provide you with the necessary tool, needed to find out
who He really is (the fullness of Him). That is followed by the fact that you must have a mind to, really get in to seeking that revelation of Him, and that takes time and effort. Most Christians fall woefully short in this area, and therefore, miss it. That is why we have such a wide range of images of Him. We take a little bit of information, and build an image, and then stick to it. And, if by any chance, other scriptures reveal that what we thought was right, isn't, then we either, try to make it fit, or dismiss the bible by saying that man wrote it, and that it contradicts itself.
Now, it is true, that man wrote it, but God, dictated it, just like a secretary takes a dictated letter from her boss. A better example is orders that are given in the military. Many times, officers will give written orders to personnel of lower rank or position, to move to a different location, or do something else. The officers usually tell their secretary to write the order, and they sign it. Now, just because the secretary may be a lowly private that barely has 90 days in the military, the letter he writes, has the full power of the one that dictated it, because he, signed it. That is the same as the officer, personally telling each person, what is what.
Well, God, did the same thing, and He signed it with the blood of Jesus. While Jesus was here, He was a living breathing human example of what the Father was like. He showed love and compassion, but He also showed displeasure, by chasing the moneychangers out of the temple with a whip [Matt 21:12-13],
and figuratively cursing out the religious leaders [Matt. 11:20-24, 23:13-36].
and warning of the punishment for evil deeds.
The message from God is, For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son [John 3:16], and Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap[Gal. 6:7].
The real key (tool) to guide us in connecting the right dots, putting the right colors in the right designs is the Holy Spirit (a.k.a. Holy Ghost, Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ, Spirit of Truth, Spirit). This is the only assistance we have, and it is only given to those that are serious, or, diligently seeking God. Jesus said, [John 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
It is the Spirit, that enabled Christ to do the things He did, and it is that same Spirit, that will enable the Christian to study, and rightly divide the Word of Truth [2Tim 2:15].
Only when the Word is rightly divided, will you get the true picture of God.
Many people, including most preachers, think they really know God, and don't.
As a result, they lead people, by the thousands in to certain destruction, because they are blind guides, leading the blind, and like Jesus said, they will both fall in the ditch (end up in hell)[Mat. 15:14]
One thing it behooves all of us to do, and that is don't take anyone's word only, when it comes to something that appears to be wrong. With so much at stake, ask God, through diligent prayer, and study, and He will show you what is right. Remember, the only one that can reveal to you, what they meant when you read something that they wrote, is them.